What Does “Free” Real Estate Cost? An Environmental Site Assessment Can Help You Avoid Problems
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
In 2003, one of our clients (a municipality) came across a bit of good fortune – a free piece of property in a great location in the commercial business district.
The site was owned by a family that had operated a business there for years, but the business had closed. The building and site sat unused for quite a while.
The building needed to be demolished, but once that was done, a nice property was ready for the City’s use (or sale!).
The City hired a firm to sample for asbestos, knowing demolition couldn’t proceed without a survey. The asbestos survey found no asbestos, and the City found a demolition contractor that would knock down the building and haul it off cheap.
Then the problems started to pile on. The demolition contractor didn’t file the project notification with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) – and got caught by a DEQ inspector who just happened to drive by and observe the demolition! Just so you’ll know – in those instances, the Contractor gets a penalty, but so does the Owner!
The DEQ inspector stopped because he knew he hadn’t received project notification for the demolition. What did he find when he went into the building and looked at the debris? You guessed it – suspect asbestos containing materials. He collected samples and sent them to the lab, and found friable asbestos in remaining building materials and in waste/debris from demolition that had just started.